Switching priorities: Giving $27 billion to national transit instead of roads

[flickr]photo:4312773010[/flickr]

A Metra train passes over a congested highway in Chicago. 

Congress is “debating” (it doesn’t always seem like a debate but a shouting match full of poorly chosen words) President Obama’s American Jobs Act right now; the latest news is that the Senate has rewritten the bill to add a new 5% tax on income above $1 million. The bill also includes allocations and competitive grant funding for capital* infrastructure projects, for Amtrak, transit, and road (which would include a tiny bit for bicycle and pedestrian projects) and bridge repair and other types. Read the Act.

Infrastructurist has an idea on how that money could be distributed differently:

Take Obama’s latest proposed jobs bill, which includes $27 billion for immediate spending on highways and bridges, and around $9 billion for rail. Clearly, that’s a huge tilt. What about changing that ratio of fund distribution, on the basis that nearly every large city is currently working to introduce transit? In other words, what if we gave $27 billion to transit, and $9 billion to roads?

It’s already been shown that bike lanes and transit projects provide more jobs for the dollar than road building.

Bicycling infrastructure creates the most jobs for a given level of spending: For each $1 million, the cycling projects in this study create a total of 11.4 jobs within the state where the project is located.

…road-only projects create the least, with a total of 7.8 jobs per $1 million. (Reuters)

We’re for giving transit the funding priority.

*In some cases the bill allows for 10% of the money received to be used for operating expenses. 

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